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Comment Re:Handwavium (Score 5, Informative) 274



We have several empirical results that point to a decoupling of the majority of the mass in a galaxy from it's light emitting matter. The bullet cluster shows us two galaxies colliding, we can see the light from both galaxies coalescing around each other. By measuring gravitational lensing, we can also see that the majority of the mass of those galaxies passing right through each other without interacting.

We know beyond any reasonable doubt that the majority of the mass in the universe does not interact with regular matter, does not produce light, does not interact with light beyond gravitational lensing. That is literally the definition of what dark matter is. There are a handful of viable theories (probably only 2 or 3 likely ones) as to what form that matter takes, but that hardly means we don't have evidence of dark matter existing.

Comment Re:Hydrogen and Helium? (Score 2) 35

Per rule 1, the 1500 gram limit is "dry" meaning not including fuel which would presumably also mean not including the compressed air. It's the compress-ability that really matters here. You could get a lot more energy into compressed hydrogen than compressed air. But it's against the spirit of the competition.

Comment Dear Amazon (Score 2) 223

If you want me to use your instant and prime video options, the correct course of action would be to make the available everywhere, not to remove products that you refuse to support (and given that I've seen Chromecast apps knocked out in a weekend there's really no excuses). Oh, and make it so that shared prime actually shares all of the prime features instead of just shipping. It's incredibly stupid that prime videos don't work on my phone because my wife's Amazon account has the primary prime account.

Comment Re:MANY people knew about it (Score 4, Insightful) 494

I work in production test. It is a constant battle with people who should know better trying to ship things that shouldn't be shipped.

I could absolutely imagine a scenario where someone comes up to an engineer says "we pass emissions in this scenario, but not these others" and then pushing, cajoling, even threatening that guy into "bending the rules" and "making things work" so they can start shipping. How much does the average car factory lose for each hour of downtime? Even more likely if the issue is a fundamental flaw that will cost millions to fix. All it takes a couple guys trying to be heroes or save their jobs.

Again, I'm not saying that's what I think happened, especially in light of how widespread the issue appears to be and how fast executives are jumping out with their golden chutes. But I do work in a similar industry in a similar capacity, depending on how the internal culture it would be easy for one or two people to make this happen.

Comment Re:Pulling that off was a major conspiracy (Score 3, Interesting) 494

That depends if the low emission mode was already coded and used in some other circumstances. If for example the engine enters that mode after idling for 30s. It could be relatively simple for one or two programmers to include a simple check that detected the dynamo scenario and put the engine into that mode, it would almost certainly be possible to obfuscate what's going on so a casual review wouldn't detect it.

Do I think that's what happened? No. Lone coders don't go off the rails that far without direction from above. If nothing else, it's doubtful the software engineers were directly aware of the emissions problem without anyone else being in the loop. But it is at least theoretically possible.

Comment Re:Been saying this for years (Score 1) 684

To be fair, those other planets wouldn't have several billion humans all clamoring for the same dwindling resources. It is very possible that when competition from fellow humans is factored in, it would be easier to obtain food on Mars than on a "doomed" earth.

Comment Re:Going to Mars is a bad idea (Score 1) 684

The SLS Block 2 will (if it ever flies) has a lift capability of 300,000 lbs. 10 launches is expensive, but not ludicrously so. Pulling rocket fuel out of the Martian atmosphere is going to cut that number by quite a lot. I could see a Mars mission being accomplished with 3 launches. One to put the ascent vehicle/rocket fuel extractor on the surface. A second batch of supplies. And one to bring the crew.

Comment Re:Job guarantee is much more sound approach (Score 1) 1291

There is no good reason to choose basic income (income guarantee) over a job guarantee where the government is the employer of last resort.

I can think of several.

How much more does the bureaucracy cost to employ 20,000,000 people vs simply handing them a check?
How much more does the bureaucracy cost to run other programs (such as SS disability for those unable to work) alongside a job guarantee?
How does a right to work account for dependents?
If people don't have to work, why should they?
If all meaningful jobs are automated, why force people into unmeaningful work?

Comment Re:Moon Zero? (Score 1) 147

The only thing doing the test runs in Antarctica accomplishes that doing them in Houston doesn't is increase the risk. Yes, there's some benefit there, people behave differently if they know their life is on the line. On the other hand, if you spend half a decade training your astronauts and have them die in the final shakeout you're out literally millions of dollars and irreplaceable training time.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito